Count Apponiy commissioned Camuccini to produce a drawing on this theme, which he did some time between 1816 and 1820, going on to produce a trial run in 1824 and finally also a painting (Rome, 1978, p. 67). Another two drawings of the Death of Porcia are contained in Albums VI and XXVIII, along with a quick sketch contained in a small notebook.
In this drawing, in pencil with fine strokes highlighted here and there with light touches of white lead to impart greater volume to the figures, we can identify each player in the story and reconstruct the setting in minute detail. Pursuing a practice he adopted with his very first draft of the Death of Caesar, the artist reconstructs the decor and costume with historical accuracy and places three Roman statues in niches above the scene. In this connection, Falconieri tells us how the young artist was assisted in this task by the archaeologist Ennio Quirino Visconti “…who elucidated to him with regard both to the form of the buildings in which the event took place and the style of dress, writing down everything about them for him so that he could get a better grasp of things…” (Falconieri, 1875, p.40)
The episode is taken from Book III of Valerius Maximus, who cites it as an example of Intrepidity. It relates the moment when Brutus, drawn by the shouting, enters the room in which his wife Porcia is lying on the floor after deliberately injuring herself with a sharp blade upon discovering that her husband was plotting to murder Julius Caesar.